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Book Reviews > New Testament > Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation

Ray VanNeste

Ray VanNeste
Director of the RC Ryan Center for Biblical Studies and Assistant Professor of Christian Studies

Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation
Johnson, Dennis E.
Details: 2001, P & R Publishing Co., Amazon.comISBN: 0875522009
Posted: April 27, 2004

This is a superb commentary on the book of Revelation. Johnson, a pastor and professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in California, provides a clear, very readable and theologically aware exposition of this complex book.

The commentary opens with a chapter aptly entitled, “A Strategy for Seeing.” This is not a discussion of schools of interpretation (Johnson intentionally holds such discussion for the conclusion) but a discussion of seven key principles emerging from the genre of the book and its historical setting which must inform and shape our interpretations. This discussion alone will be a great value for students and preachers.

Chapter two then discusses the structure of Revelation, another important and debated topic in the interpretation of the book. The discussion is well done, drawing from the wells of academic research but with a very engaging presentation demonstrating the relevance for interpretation.

Chapters 3-14 expound the text of Revelation. Here one does not get the detail one might in some other larger commentaries, but there is substantial discussion of the text. Johnson is again engaging and, as Ralph Davis says, “not allergic to application.”

The last chapter is entitled “What Should This Book Do to Us?”, and it is worth the price of the book. In the opinion of this reviewer, anyone studying Revelation ought to read this chapter. Even the wording of the chapter title is excellent. So often studies of Revelation get sidetracked in areas of debate forgetting that the book (like the rest of Scripture) was intended to impact us, to “do” something “to” us. Johnson lists several ways we should respond to the message of the book including seeing the true glory of our Savior, the true beauty of the Church and the repugnance and final destiny of the Lord’s enemies. Johnson also highlights the call to patient endurance and the faithful bearing of witness in spite of persecution.

The commentary concludes with two appendixes. Appendix A is a helpful 4 page overview of Revelation and Appendix B is a useful overview of schools of interpretation.

Johnson’s commentary will now be one of my first recommendations to anyone teaching or preaching from the book of Revelation.

Ray Van Neste

Union University

Previously appeared in "The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology"